Twitter data analysis for studying communities of practice in the media industry
This publication appears in: Telematics and Informatics
Authors: M. Komorowski, T. Do and N. Deligiannis
Publication Date: Apr. 2018
Today, more and more physical communities of practice, a concept that describes a group of people that share a passion and interact regularly at events to exchange knowledge, utilize social media, such as Twitter. Brotaru, for instance, is such a physical community of practice for media professionals in Brussels. It is a monthly meet-up of videogame developers in various locations in Brussels. Furthermore, Twitter becomes widely acknowledged as important instrument for learning and community formation in the virtual world. But, do these communities of practice use Twitter only to promote their physical activities of learning? Or, are the activities of the physical communities further extended into the virtual world meaning that virtual communities of practice emerge from them? This article suggests a novel mixed-methods approach based on qualitative and quantitative data to measure the role of Twitter for physical communities of practice. The method applies different statistical measures and analysis on harvested Twitter data and additionally brings two of the most used methods in Twitter analysis together, social network analysis and text data analysis (a.k.a., content analysis). Four different communities of practice in Brussels media industry and their activities and followers on Twitter have been analysed. The findings showed that the activities of the communities of practice extend into the Twitter sphere as the online communities are characterised by a shared domain, a lively community and shared practices. The analysis further revealed that Twitter offers three main opportunities for the activities of communities of practice: it offers geographical extension it gives temporal autonomy and, it can be used to diversify the practices.